The Real Reason Behind Trump’s Angry Diplomacy In North Korea

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By Ramzy Baroud for Politics for the People – To understand the United States’ stratagem in the Pacific, and against North Korea in particular, one has to understand the fundamental changes that are under way in that region. China’s clout as an Asian superpower and as a global economic powerhouse has been growing at a rapid speed. The US’ belated ‘pivot to Asia’ to counter China’s rise has been, thus far, quite ineffectual. The angry diplomacy of President Donald Trump is Washington’s way to scare off North Korea’s traditional ally, China, and disrupt what has been, till now, quite a smooth Chinese economic, political and military ascendency in Asia that has pushed against US regional influence, especially in the East and South China Seas. Despite the fact that China has reevaluated its once strong ties with North Korea, in recent years, it views with great alarm any military build-up by the US and its allies. A stronger US military in that region will be a direct challenge to China’s inevitable trade and political hegemony. The US understands that its share of the world’s economic pie chart is constantly being reduced, and that China is gaining ground, and fast. The United States’ economy is the world’s largest, but not for long. Statistics show that China is blazing the trail and will, by 2030 – or even sooner – win the coveted spot.

Holding Out A Vision For Solutions Not Endless War

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By Will Griffin for Veterans For Peace – Economic conversion, defense conversion, or arms conversion, is a technical, economic and political process for moving from military to civilian production. The sixth Maine Peace Walk for Conversion, Community and Climate is concentrating on the serious need to convert Bath Iron Works (BIW) to peaceful and sustainable production.

Trump Shoots The US In The Foot Over Iran

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By Eric Margolis for Eric Margolis – President Donald Trump has put the United States on the course for war with Iran. That was clearly his objective last Friday when he refused to certify the international nuclear accord with Iran and proclaimed heavy sanctions against Tehran’s powerful paramilitary Revolutionary Guards Corps. Trump’s move was also a clever ploy to deflect blame for abrogating the key 2015 Iran nuclear treaty that the US signed with Iran, Britain, France, Germany, Russia, China and the European Union. Accusing Iran of ‘terrorism’ and ‘violating the spirit of the accord,’ Trump threw the Iran issue into the hands of the Republican-dominated US Congress. He had to. All of Trump’s senior national security officials and those from the treaty partners and UN reported that Iran had kept its end of the deal. So Trump trotted out the old song and dance about terrorism – which means anything Uncle Sam does not like. The same United States that supports the murderous Islamic State and its allies in Syria and Iraq. There won’t be much doubt about how Congress handles this hot potato. The leading senators and congressmen who will deal with the issue, like Bob Corker, Tom Cotton, and Marco Rubio, are all firmly in the pocket of pro-Israel lobbies. The US vociferous ambassador to the UN, Nikki Haley, is almost a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Las Vegas gambling mogul and uber Zionist billionaire, Sheldon Adelson – who is also a key financial backer of Trump and Netanyahu.

Wrongful Rhetoric And Trump’s Strategy On Iran

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By Kathy Kelly for VCNV – Mordechai Vanunu was imprisoned in Israel for eighteen years because he blew the whistle on Israel’s secret nuclear weapons program. He felt he had “an obligation to tell the people of Israel what was going on behind their backs” at a supposed nuclear research facility which was actually producing plutonium for nuclear weapons. His punishment for breaking the silence about Israel’s capacity to manufacture nuclear weapons included eleven years of solitary confinement. Yesterday, reading about President Donald Trump’s new strategy on Iran, Vanunu’s long isolation and sacrificial commitment to truth-telling came to mind. Donald Trump promised to “deny the Iranian regime all paths to a nuclear weapon.” But it is Israel, which possesses an estimated 80 nuclear warheads, with fissile material for up to 200, which poses the major nuclear threat in the region. And Israel is allied to the nation with the world’s largest nuclear arsenal: the United States. Israel doesn’t acknowledge its nuclear arsenal publicly, nor does Israel allow weapons inspectors into its nuclear weapons facilities. Along with India and Pakistan, Israel refuses to sign the nuclear non-proliferation treaty. And it has used conventional weapons in numerous destabilizing wars which include aerial bombing of Gaza, Lebanon and the West Bank. Vanunu, designated by Daniel Ellsberg as the “the pre-eminent hero of the nuclear era,” helped many people envision nations in the region making progress toward a nuclear weapons-free Middle East.

North Korea Foreign Minister On What Is Needed For Negotiations With US

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By Adam Garrie for Mint Press News – North Korea’s Foreign Minister, Ri Yong-ho, has spoken exclusively to TASS on the occasion of the 69th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Pyongyang and Moscow. Before taking questions, Ri Yong-ho, who recently delivered the DPRK’s speech before the General Assembly of the United Nations, addressed the current state of relations between his country and Russia: Tomorrow, October 12, will mark the 69th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the DPRK and Russia and in this connection I would like to express the hope that friendship and cooperation between our peoples will be growing stronger and that the strategic importance of interaction will grow with the passage of time. My country today is attaining a victory and acting as a worthy counterbalance to the United States, which refers to itself as the “only superpower.” I believe that having such a strong neighbor by its side quite agrees with Russia’s interests. Lately, Korean-Russian relations have been not at the desirable level due to internal and external factors and a number of difficulties and obstacles, but we are optimistic about their potential and their prospects, because there is a solid groundwork for the development of bilateral relations, resting upon a long history of friendship and cooperation.

10 Reasons The US Should Stick With The Iran Nuclear Deal

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By Medea Benjamin for CodePink – President Trump is expected to announce this week that he will not recertify that Iran is complying with the 2015 nuclear deal. He will argue, falsely, that the agreement is no longer in the national interest of the United States. The president’s announcement will not end the deal but will pass the buck to Congress. In the next 60 days, Congress could impose new sanctions that would scuttle the deal or it could pass new legislation addressing issues that were never part of the original mandate, which would also effectively kill the agreement. Enough public pressure could keep the agreement intact. Here are 10 good reasons why the US should uphold the deal. President Trump’s claim that Iran is not complying with the conditions of the deal is false. Iran is complying, as certified in eight reports over the past two years by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the entity charged of monitoring the deal. The Trump administration has not produced any evidence that Iran is not holding up its part of the bargain.

Nuns To Deliver UN Nuclear Abolition Treaty To US Military Base

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By Julia Conley for Common Dreams. Colorado Springs, CO – speaking out against the United States’ decision to forego last month’s United Nations treaty prohibiting the use and development of atomic weapons, two Catholic nuns on Monday will perform their latest in a long series of anti-nuclear protests. Sister Ardeth Platte and Sister Carol Gilbert plan to present the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, signed by 53 countries, to officials at the Peterson Air Force Base in Colorado Springs, delivering the message that the U.S. must join with other nations to reach worldwide nuclear disarmament. “We’re coming as peacemakers and peace advocates, to teach and show our concern,” Platte said in an interview with the Denver Post. “Our politicians could be heroes of these times, if they start working with nations rather than against nations.” The U.S. was one of several countries with nuclear capability that did not sign the agreement. North Korea, Russia, and the United Kingdom were among the other nations that refused to take part in negotiations—which Platte and Gilbert say too many Americans don’t even know took place. “We want the citizens of Colorado to know about this treaty,” Gilbert told the Post. “The treaty would make nuclear weapons illegal.” The treaty was signed amid growing tensions between President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, who has tested several intercontinental ballistic missiles since July, launching them into the Pacific Ocean over Japan.

Demonstrations Show Solidarity With Puerto Rico, Protest Trump

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By Staff of Answer Coalition – The Trump administration’s criminally insufficient response to the crisis in Puerto Rico following Hurricanes Irma and Maria has caused huge suffering. Below are photos from some of the demonstrations that were held across the country on October 3 to coincide with Trump’s visit to the island. We demand a cancellation of Puerto Rico’s debt, and are in solidarity with those fighting for independence and an end to U.S. colonial rule!

Left-Right Alliance Against U.S.-Saudi War On Yemen

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By Staff of IPA – Katrina vanden Heuvel just wrote the piece “Congress’s War Powers Must Be Made a Reality” in the Washington Post. She writes: “What does it take to get Congress to act on vital questions of war and peace? The catastrophe in Yemen may test whether Congress is finally prepared to exercise its constitutional responsibility. Four legislators — two House Democrats and two Republicans — have introduced a resolutionunder the War Powers Act demanding a vote in 15 days to end U.S. involvement in Saudi Arabia’s devastation of Yemen. “The resolution, co-sponsored by Democrats Ro Khanna and Mark Pocan (the co-chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus) and by Republicans Thomas Massie and Walter Jones, requires the ‘removal’ of U.S. forces from the war in Yemen unless Congress votes to authorize American involvement. Beginning under President Barack Obama, the U.S. military has assisted the Saudi campaign in Yemen…“As lead co-sponsor Khanna (D-Calif.) argues, the war powers resolution is long overdue: ‘Congress and the American people know too little about the role we are playing in a war that is causing suffering for millions of people and is a genuine threat to our national security.’“The resolution will force Congress to debate this truly deplorable policy that has implicated the United States in Saudi war crimes while fueling the spread of terrorism.”

The End Of Empire

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By Chris Hedges for Truth Dig – The American empire is coming to an end. The U.S. economy is being drained by wars in the Middle East and vast military expansion around the globe. It is burdened by growing deficits, along with the devastating effects of deindustrialization and global trade agreements. Our democracy has been captured and destroyed by corporations that steadily demand more tax cuts, more deregulation and impunity from prosecution for massive acts of financial fraud, all the while looting trillions from the U.S. treasury in the form of bailouts. The nation has lost the power and respect needed to induce allies in Europe, Latin America, Asia and Africa to do its bidding. Add to this the mounting destruction caused by climate change and you have a recipe for an emerging dystopia. Overseeing this descent at the highest levels of the federal and state governments is a motley collection of imbeciles, con artists, thieves, opportunists and warmongering generals. And to be clear, I am speaking about Democrats, too. The empire will limp along, steadily losing influence until the dollar is dropped as the world’s reserve currency, plunging the United States into a crippling depression and instantly forcing a massive contraction of its military machine.

The Enormous Cost Of More Nuclear Weapons: What Is The Gain?

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By Guy T. Saperstein and Kelsey Abkin for AlterNet – An analysis by the Arms Control Association of U.S. government budget data projects the total cost over the next 30 years of the proposed nuclear modernization and maintenance at between $1.25 trillion and $1.46 trillion. This expenditure is not included in our defense budget of $700 billion, which leads the world in military spending and represents more than the spending of the next seven countries combined –three times what China spends and seven times what Russia spends on defense. To put this into perspective, this number exceeds the combined total federal spending for education; training, employment, and social services; agriculture; natural resources and the environment; general science, space, and technology; community and regional development (including disaster relief); law enforcement; and energy production and regulation. With climate change deemed by the Pentagon as an immediate national security threat, healthcare costs rising, and an increasing number of natural disasters, one might think nuclear weapons would lose their place as the top recipient of federal spending. But this is far from the case and there is a reason why. As long as other countries continue to harbor nuclear weapons, we will do the same. And vise versa. As Donald Trump said at the start of his campaign, “If countries are going to have nukes, we’re going to be at the top of the pack.”

Why Won't US Media Tell Truth About What's Happening In Venezuela?

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By Justin Podur for AlterNet – Earlier this week, Donald Trump stood before the U.N. and called for the restoration of “political freedoms” to a South American nation in the thoes of an economic crisis. The country in question was Venezuela, but he could have just as easily been describing Argentina, whose right-wing government imprisoned indigenous politician Milagro Sala, has run inflation into the double digits and is in the process of re-imposing the sort of austerity policies that triggered a popular revolt and debt default in 2001. The description also fits Brazil, where President Michel Temer has been caught on tape discussing bribes, his former cabinet member’s apartment recently raided to the tune of 51 million reais ($16 million). Temer, who assumed office only after leading the impeachment of his predecessor, Dilma Rousseff, has also run an aggressive program of austerity, dissolving the programs that lifted tens of millions of Brazilians out of poverty and into the middle class. In both countries, right-wing forces have taken power and undermined fragile democratic norms with the objective of reversing the modest redistribution of wealth achieved under left-wing administrations over the past 15 years. Backed by a United States government with a long history of subverting leftist movements in the region, and a mainstream media that’s all too eager to carry its water, the right is now attempting the same feat in Venezuela.

Lawmakers Demand U.S. Withdrawal From Saudi-Led War In Yemen

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By Dan De Luce for Foreign Policy – Four lawmakers have introduced a bipartisan bill that would halt U.S. military assistance to the Saudi-led campaign in Yemen on grounds that Congress has never approved the American role in the war. Two House Republicans and two Democrats submitted the bill on Wednesday evening, but other lawmakers have already conveyed their support for the measure, congressional aides told Foreign Policy. The bill requires “the removal” of U.S. forces from the war in Yemen unless and until Congress votes to authorize the American assistance. For more than two years, the United States military has provided aerial refueling tankers and intelligence to the Saudi-led coalition waging war against Houthi rebels backed by Iran. “We aim to restore Congress as the constitutionally mandated branch of government that may declare war and retain oversight over it,” two sponsors, Democrats Rep. Ro Khanna of California and Rep. Mark Pocan of Wisconsin, wrote in a letter to colleagues that was obtained by FP. Although the bipartisan bill is unlikely to secure a majority in the House, it underscores growing concerns over Saudi Arabia’s handling of the war that is now at a stalemate on the battlefield. And it reflects growing unease at Congress over the U.S. role there, following previous attempts by lawmakers this year to rein in arms sales or other military assistance to Saudi Arabia…

Rich Man's War; Poor People's Blood

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By Ed Kinane and Judy Bello for Upstated Drone Action – Monday, 25 September 2017 at 9 AM, 7 members of the grassroots group Upstate Drone Action once again were arrested as they delivered a citizen’s war crime indictment to the chain of command at Hancock Air Force Base. Upstate Drone Action also placed a huge dollar sign [$] dripping with “blood” in the main entrance way to the base. The six-foot-high dollar sign dramatizes what the group believes determines the many overseas wars the Pentagon/CIA engages in: corporate greed. Hancock AFB — on East Molloy Rd, town of DeWitt, County of Onondaga, State of New York, just north of Syracuse – hosts the 174th Attack [sic] Wing of the NY National Guard. The 174th is one of two Reaper drone Attack Wings in NYS. Piloted from Hancock, the MQ9 Reaper drone is an unmanned, satellite-directed assassin flown over Afghanistan. CIA also uses such airborne robots for its clandestine, illegal, lethal missions over Northwest Pakistan and other majority-Islamic nations and oil lands. According to “LIVING UNDER DRONES: Death, Injury and Trauma to civilians from US Practices in Pakistan,” published by Stanford University and New York University Law Schools, such missions are responsible for the deaths of many hundreds of noncombatants, including women and children, in that region.

Here’s Every Nuclear Weapon In The US Arsenal

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By Staff of Union of Concerned Scientists – A nuclear weapon—the most destructive device on Earth. The US nuclear arsenal includes over 4,600 weapons. These weapons are unlike any other. Here’s an average one, the W78. (image right) It causes a mile-wide radioactive fireball and can destroy most buildings—and humans—in a circle about 4 miles wide. Hundreds can be launched within minutes. About 400 nuclear-tipped missiles are stationed underground in Colorado, Wyoming, Montana, Nebraska, and North Dakota. They’re staffed 24/7 and kept on hair-trigger alert, ready to launch if and when they receive orders from the president. Submarines carry hundreds more. A single nuclear-armed submarine carries the TNT equivalent of roughly seven World War II’s. About 10 such subs are at sea at any given time. Aircraft are armed too. About 300 bombs and air-launched cruise missiles are deployed on air bases in the United States. Another 150 bombs are in Europe. All are capable of smaller, lower-yield explosions, which may increase the risk that they’ll actually be used. The president can use them at any time.